Two seafood courses are a little unusual for us, but these were for cause. My fish dealer suggested I get something extra to go with the tuna steak I had just picked out, and, forgetting that a little tuna goes a long way, I yielded. I didn’t want to put them together, and when I remembered that I had some very good watercress in the crisper and also some decent bread, I knew I had the makings of a first course.
- four small-to-medium scallops from Pura Vida Fisheries, washed, drained and very thoroughly dried on paper towels (twice), generously seasoned with salt and pepper, pan grilled for about 90 seconds on each side, finished with a squeeze of a local Lisbon lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and a drizzle of good olive oil, then scattered with some sumac I had acquired that day for the first time ever, from Berried Treasures
- the last of a bunch of watercress from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, washed, dried in a rolled kitchen towel, and dressed with good olive oil, and juice from the same Lisbon lemon, salt, and pepper
- slices of a small baguette from Whole Foods
I then ‘gilded’ my favorite tuna recipe with some of the seductive vetch which remained in the refrigerator even after having already been a part of several meals. Because we had gotten home so late from Jersey City after a brilliant gallery show opening, and the thick asparagus I had brought home from the Greenmarket that afternoon would take some time and attention to prepare, and because I had half a dozen maturing potatoes of a certain delicious strain, I decided to accompany the fish with the tubers and a couple other spring elements, fresh scallion-like shallots and lovage.
- one 13-ounce tuna steak from Pura Vida Fisheries, halved, the tops an bottoms rubbed with a mix of a generous amount of dry fennel seed and one crushed medium dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia, ground together, additionally seasoned with salt and pepper, then pan-grilled (a little longer than I would normally wish, which would be only a little more than a minute and a half on each side), finished with a good squeeze of a Lemon grown locally by Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and a drizzle of good olive oil [the recipe is from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, found in ‘Italian Easy’; Recipes from the London River Cafe‘]
- red thumb potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled in salted water until tender, drained, dried in the same pot in which they had cooked, a little olive oil poured in, the pan returned to the heat and the whole stirred with some chopped spring shallots (looking like scallions, but with a little rouge blush) from Lani’s Farm, divided onto the plates, finished with lovage from WIndfall Farms, and garnished with some chopped shallot leaves
- the wine was an Austrian (Wagram) rosé, Fritsch Rosé Zweigelt vom Donaulöss 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the music was the first two of the six CDs which make up the set, ‘Between Noise and Silence‘, collected works and tributes, in memoriam Steven M. Miller, from Innova Recordings